In Which the Dragonborn Saves the Skaal

This session was all about exploring Solstheim and beginning several side quests, in addition to moving the main Dragonborn quest line along.

And boy howdy is Solstheim weird after being used to the environment of Skyrim. But that’s a good thing!

Highlights

  • Picked up where I left off at the Skaal village
  • Went looking for the Word of Power that Storn Crag-Strider pointed me at; on the way, found a small group of pirates on a shoal that got me started on a side quest about Deathbrand
  • Noted a probable cave or ruin near the Word Wall, but did not engage with it
  • There was a dragon lair near the location for the Word Wall, and I got attacked by the dragon—which turned out to be a Serpentine Dragon, which kicked my ass the first time through! Second time through I got it killed though
  • And Miraak pulled his “ha ha fuck you” stunt and stole its soul before I could get it
  • Made it to Saering’s Watch and found the Word Wall there for Bend Will
  • Found the Wind Stone next and purified it, which freed the Skaal from its control
  • Returned to the village and got the gratitude of Storn Crag-Strider, who said the Skaal would be allies to me
  • Spent a little time chatting with people in the village, including an old historian who said he’d gotten the Skaal’s leave to stay with them and study their ways
  • Found the forge and sold some things to reduce the inventory load; also bought an almost full set of Stalhrim light armor and a few weapons, and worked at the forge a bit to bump up the Smithing
  • Storn recommended I try to cleanse the rest of the Stones, which might not actually stop Miraak but could slow him down; he also recommended I go to Tel Mithryn and speak with a wizard there who could tell me about the Black Books
  • Headed south to Tel Mithyrn; saw a group of armed individuals in a fight with something on the way, but they didn’t bother me so I didn’t bother them
  • Found a probable Dwemer ruin that I’m sure I’ll need to visit later
  • Discovered and harvested a few new ingredients: ashen grass pods, tarma root, and scathecraw
  • Made it to Tel Mithryn and cleansed the Sun Stone when I found it nearby
  • But it was later in the evening, so I didn’t try to talk to the wizard; I did talk to his steward and apprentice, though, as well as an NPC who had a silt strider; got an interesting and probably quest-relevant gem from him
  • Also talked to the apothecary there who was an old woman under orders from the wizard to repair his mushroom house, but she didn’t have the stamina any more to go hunting for ingredients she needed, she asked me to do it for her
  • Fought a second dragon at Tel Mithryn, this time an Ancient Dragon; this time I got its soul as usual
  • Since I was overloaded again I decided I needed to sell more things; summoned Arvak to fast travel to Raven Rock
  • Once Lydia and I showed up there, waited around for the local buildings to open, and started selling things; found the general goods store, the apothecary, and the forge
  • Talked to several NPCs as I started handing out the drink samples the innkeeper at the Retching Netch had asked me to distribute
  • Got a side quest from the blacksmith to go recover an Ancient Nord Pickaxe from an old man I found down in Raven Rock Mine; I got the pickaxe back but also a side quest for the old man to look for evidence in the mine about his great-grandfather’s death
  • Headed out of the town a little to explore and see if I could find the shipwreck with the book I’d been asked to recover; on the way, found a guard captain fighting with ash spawn; helped him kill them, and got his request to help him find out what was causing them
  • Also found the shipwreck, but also found it inhabited by reavers, the local version of bandits; dispatched same and recovered the book
  • Searched the farm for the guard captain as well as the ash piles left over from the spawn, and found a note with a declaration of war which I returned to him; he asked me to further investigate at Fort Frostmoth
  • Returned to Raven Rock, but I was overloaded again and didn’t get to it fast enough to engage in a fight between Redoran Guards and an opponent I didn’t make out from my distance
  • Back in Raven Rock, returned the book to the councilor’s wife and got a Ring of Recuperation from her in gratitude
  • Realized I was still heavily laden and since I have no house on Solstheim where I can safely stash stuff, decided to blip back to Skyrim and drop off some things; College of Winterhold was my nearest residence, so I stopped there and saved for the night

Saving the Skaal

The first major item of business for this run was saving the Skaal village from the influence of the corrupted Wind Stone. So I picked up with that pretty much immediately, following Storn Crag-Strider’s request to go find a Word of Power and use it to cleanse the Stone.

(Side note: I actually got killed by the Serpentine Dragon I mention below the first time through this part of the playing, and that threw me all the way back to the Skaal village. Everything after this point is coming back a second time, including killing that dragon.)

This required me to tromp a little ways out of the village, but not too far. On the way, I found a small group of pirates on a beachside shoal. These guys came to my attention when Lydia started shooting at them, so I went over to continue the fight. Found a journal that started me on a quest to find the treasure of a pirate called Deathbrand, as well as a piece of Deathbrand armor.

Lydia and I had a fight at the water’s edge with a thing called a Lurker Vindicator. And I did not know about these things, at least not in any depth. I believe my words at the time were “What kind of Creature of the Black Lagoon bullshit is this?” Because this thing totally looked like the Creature. With added Cthuloid tentacle action and acid spray, which it horfed up all over Lydia. Yuck.

Noted a location called Benkongerike, not far from the Word Wall, which I will very likely have to visit later. Did not otherwise engage. But I did notice the name, just because I liked the flow of those syllables, which hit my ear differently than a lot of the names on the mainland. Even the Dwemer ones!

On the way to the Word Wall, a Serpentine Dragon showed up—first of these I’ve seen! Lydia and I engaged, but once it was down, Miraak pulled his “ha ha fuck you” trick of swiping the dragon’s soul out from under me. This was not a surprise—I’d seen this happen to Paul on a recent play session I was in the room for. First time it happened for me though!

At Saering’s Watch, the location for the Word Wall, there were a couple of draugr but otherwise not much in the way of keeping me from getting me to the Wall. Got the first word of the Bend Will Shout.

And with that, I was prepared to start cleansing some Stones. Went back towards the village and found and cleansed the Wind Stone, freeing the Skaal villagers on site to return to their people. Cleansing the Stone required me to fight another Lurker—though I think this was a Lurker Guardian, rather than a Vindicator. (The Vindicators, according to the wiki, are the highest leveled type of Lurker you can fight with.)

Storn Crag-Strider was very grateful for my aid, and told me that since I’d proven an ally to the Skaal, so would the Skaal be allies to me.

So I spent a little time wandering around the village, just to talk with NPCs and see what I could learn about the place. I found the forge, and sold several things to the blacksmith—and also found that he was selling stalhrim and stalhrim items, so I bought a bunch from him. Got an almost full set of the light armor from him; he had everything but the bracers. And I also got a bow, a dagger, and several arrows.

Looked up this stuff on the wiki and saw that stalhrim light armor is basically the second best stuff you can get after the dragonscale. But I’ll have to work on this stuff to make it be competitive with my dragonscale right now in terms of how much protection it provides me. There is potential here though to double-enchant the hell out of this stuff. Particularly if frost enchantments are involved.

Spent a little time at that forge as well just building some iron items, for the sake of building my Smithing back up.

The other notable NPC I found in the village was actually not a Skaal—he was an old historian who had gotten the permission of the village to live among them and study their ways.

Meanwhile, since Storn Crag-Strider shied away from telling me anything about the Black Book I’d gotten out of the temple, I followed his advice and decided to head south to Tel Mithryn. There, according to Storn, I’d be able to find a Dunmer wizard who could tell me more about the book.

Tel Mithryn

Heading down to Tel Mithryn, I noted a probable Dwemer ruin on the way, Nchardak, which again I’m sure I’ll need to visit later.

Also noted, from further up the hillside slope, what looked like a possible bandit camp. This was also possibly the source of a group of armed individuals I saw fighting something shortly thereafter. I don’t know for sure that they were bandits, or that they’d come from that camp. But they didn’t try to come bother me, so I didn’t bother them.

Also found a few interesting new ingredients: Ashen Grass Pods (which I already knew about), Tarma Root (which I did not), and Scathecraw (also new). The scathecraw was interesting to me just because it looked like giant crimson nirnroot in a way, but it didn’t make nirnroot noises. Still though I’m curious whether the resemblance is coincidental, or if there’s actually supposed to be some connection between those two types of plants.

The Tarma Root was notable to me as well not only because it was brand new, but also because it made this sort of wood-like noise when I harvested it.

Also, as I closed in on Tel Mithryn, I found the second of the Stones—the Sun Stone. Cleansed that one too, which required fighting a third Lurker.

But it was also fairly late in the day, so I didn’t get a chance to talk to the wizard. I did however talk to both his steward and his apprentice. And a merchant who was in the immediate area tending to his elderly silt strider, who he’d named Dusty. The merchant sold me a few things, including something called a resonance gem which I’m sure will be quest-relevant later!

I spoke as well with the local apothecary, who was an old Dunmer woman frustrated at the wizard who’d been giving her shit about failing to repair his mushroom house. But she was short on ingredients to do that properly, and since she was an old woman of failing strength, she asked for my help to get the ingredients she needed. I agreed to take this on.

Also, an Ancient Dragon showed up. So I did battle with that and dispatched it, and this time Miraak didn’t show up to nab its soul.

Since I’d now killed two dragons in this session, I was carrying a lot of dragon bits as well as other bits of miscellaneous heavy loot. A visit to Raven Rock was therefore in order, so I could sell some of this stuff.

I summoned Arvak to be able to fast travel to Raven Rock, which let me and Lydia get there together even if she wasn’t technically on the ghost horse with me!

Raven Rock

Raven Rock was where I had the rest of the session’s interesting action, and where I triggered a whole bunch of extra side quests.

From the blacksmith at the forge, I got a request to go find an old man and get him to return the blacksmith’s Ancient Nord Pickaxe. When I returned the pickaxe, the blacksmith told me I could keep it.

The old man in question was down in Raven Rock Mine, getting ardent worry from his wife about exerting himself in the place looking for evidence of his great-grandfather’s death. I got the pickaxe back from him, but also agreed to help him with his search.

Ranged a little ways out of town looking for the shipwreck and the book that the councilor’s wife wanted back. Found the shipwreck, and unsurprisingly, it was filled with reavers, the local version of bandits. Dispatched same and got the book.

On the way to that shipwreck, though, I also found a captain of the Redoran Guard fighting with things called ash spawn. I helped him kill those, and then got his request to help him investigate where the hell they were coming from. I followed up on this on the way back from the shipwreck, and upon investigating the piles of ash left over from the spawn, found a note containing a “declaration of war”. This I returned to the captain. He then asked for additional help, asking if I’d go to Fort Frostmoth for him and check this out.

Returned the book to the councilor’s wife, who was very grateful, and gave me a Ring of Recuperation.

I got a few more things sold off at the forge as well as the general goods shop. But I was still carrying a whole lot of things. And since I don’t have a residence on Solstheim yet, I didn’t really have any safe place to start building a loot stash.

I therefore opted to fast travel for a bit back to Skyrim and drop off things, to pare down the inventory to only the stuff I knew I was going to outright need. Did two fast travel hops, one to get to Windhelm (again, shorthand for taking the ship), and one to get to the College of Winterhold as that was my closest actual residence.

Left off there, saving for the night.

Next time

Finishing up dropping off stuff at the college, though it also occurs to me that I’ve leveled up to 57 and I need this level’s training. And since I’ve kind of regretted resetting my Smithing, this means I need to bump that back up ASAP. And Balimund is a Smithing trainer! So I think I may actually drop off a few things at the college but the rest at Honeyside in Riften, so I can specifically stop at the forge and take advantage of the other shops there to sell things.

Then I’ll blip back to Solstheim and pick up in Raven Rock where I left off, and work on those side quests!

Screenshots

I took multiple screenshots, so here’s the gallery for that!

(Dreamwidth readers, this gallery will look weird to you, but if you want to see it rendering as expected on WordPress, click over to the original post.)